Pay up now in Community!

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2018 Community Service Group Conference
10 November 2017

Conference notes that UNISON membership in the community service group is increasing and attendance at the community service group meeting at national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) conference improves annually.

Issues affecting LGBT members raised at the meeting include low or no pay increases, attacks on terms and conditions, facility time and bullying, harassment and discrimination.

The equality survey carried out by UNISON during Summer 2017 identified that 44% described their standard of living as worse than a year ago. This was over a 10% increase on 2016. It also showed that people are generally spending more and earning less due to rising costs and inflation. LGBT members have the same pay profile as non-LGBT members.

Conference notes that many community employers have used the Tories’ 1% public sector pay cap as an excuse to cap pay increases to their staff. Many community members have had no or low cost pay increases, way behind the rate of inflation. Conference welcomes UNISON’s Pay up now! campaign and believes it could benefit from greater visibility in the community sector.

Conference welcomes the increase in the Living Wage set by the Living Wage Foundation. For members in community employers who subscribe to it, this can make a real difference. However smaller charities are more likely to pay below the Living Wage, with 77.2% of low paid employees working for charities with less than fifty employees. Conference notes that many LGBT members work for smaller charities where work has been commissioned, as it is no longer viable in the statutory sector but is still an essential service.

The Living Wage should not be confused with the Government’s living wage which is the minimum wage, the increase in which does not match inflation.

Conference therefore urges the Community service group executive to:

1. Promote UNISON’s ‘Pay up now!’ campaign among community members, with relevant and appropriate community campaign messages;

2. Keep community workers pay high on the service group agenda;

3. Encourage and assist branches to campaign for their employers to sign up to the real Living Wage;

4. Work with the national self-organised groups and young members forum to mainstream equality issues into the pay campaign;

5. Survey community members to identify how pay cuts and working conditions have impacted on them and report the findings to 2019 conference.